Goodbye Oregon, Hello Virginia Beach

Decorations welcoming me home

Oregon will be remembered for their great state campgrounds, the high desert, Hells Canyon Scenic Byway, a run in with a deer, ghost towns, national forests, John Day Fossil Beds, volcanic fields of McKenzie pass, devasted town of McKenzie Bridge, rocky coastline, and foggy finish in Astoria.  My first day in Oregon involved riding along the Snake River with a brief stop to do some kayaking in the river surrounded by mountains. The next few days were spent riding in the high desert with smoky cloud cover and intermittent drizzling rain from the smoke. On the third day, the smoke finally lifted and I was energized by the glorious sun to climb three passes through beautiful forests followed by golden valleys and ghost towns.  I toured the Kam Wah Chung Historical Center, a time capsule of herbal medicine and wares from the late 1800’s when two Chinese immigrants set up a thriving business and left all of their possessions behind. The next few days I rode through the John Day Fossil Beds with layers of basalt imprinted with the remains of ferns, redwoods and palms from a time when the arid region was a tropical jungle.  I took another step back in time when I stayed in an inviting church hostel in Mitchell, a popular stop on the stage route in the 1860’s. While there, I washed my clothes for the first time in weeks on a Maytag Wringer washer and watched the sunset and near full moon rise at the nearby Painted Hills. Next up was climbing the last big pass of the trip, McKenzie Pass, at 5325 feet, and camping at lava lake under the full moon after watching the sun set and moon rise at Dee Wright Observatory.  The following day was an emotional ride through McKenzie Bridge, a town devasted by forest fires from last fall that burned 180,000 acres and 400 homes.  I took a rest day in the town of Eugene to tour University of Oregon and nearby museums.  Next was the town of Corvalis and Oregon State University. The following day, I landed in Neskowin, a quaint coastal town and the first time I saw the Pacific Ocean. Of course I had to take the obligatory wheel dip and swim in the Ocean.  I slowly made my way up the coast, stopping in small coastal villages along the way and doing a few hikes to take in the beauty of the area and savor my last few days. I finally arrived in Astoria, OR on July 31st, 68 days and 4,600 miles after I departed Virginia Beach.  

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